I use foam cylinders available at Bass Pro and many on-line fly shops.
They come in multiple colors and various diameters so that you can make small poppers for bluegills, and bigger ones for bass and even stripers.
The trick is cutting them to form.
For years I cut them freehand with a razor blade. The results were effective. Here's a style of mine that worked extremely well for stripers:
But over the years, I wanted uniformity in shape. I had thought many times of making a jig to hold the foam cylinder as I cut it but I never got around to doing it. My dad was a toolmaker and all I had to do was to ask him to build one. Then I found this product on-line:
The Krebs Popper Jig allows me to make various sized poppers and to cut each size uniformly.
After cutting the size you want, you simply slit the popper along the belly, insert and glue the hook in place. Then you add a tail. You can get as fancy with the tail as you like. Here's one where I added hackle:
But I've learned over the years that hackle on the tail is unnecessary. Fish bite them freely without the hackle and frankly, my goal in making flies is to make them quickly. If one takes more than 5 minutes or so to tie, it's not worth my effort because I know many simple fast ties work just fine.
You can also buy foam popper heads already formed at Bass Pro and on-line fly shops. I use them but not as much now that I have the Krebbs jig. Here are examples of those flies:
For all my foam flies I add eyes using two different diameter nail heads and dipping them into acrylic hobby paint and then dabbing it onto the popper. I paint the eyes for me. The fish don't care.
Last edited by Mark; 02-17-2017 at 05:00 PM.
Olive Hobie Revo 13
Hidden Oak Native Ultimate 12
Author: The Simple Joys of Kayak Fishing (Tips and Tales From an Old Guy in His Plastic Boat)
Available on Amazon.com